This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Blah, blah, Gaia. Blah, blah, moon. Menstrual life-force power thingy."
11943 members | you are not logged in | 17 April 2014












December 08 2004

Buffy, Angel, Firefly, who is the best? The Results. to the poll held on Slayerverse. And the winner is........Buffy the Vampire Slayer! See the facts and figures of the poll by clicking on the link!

its all about the buffster. that show started it all.
Had Firefly lasted, it would've easily topped both Angel and Buffy, unfortunately it never really had a chance.

In my opinion, the final season of Angel is the finest full season of work Joss ever did, but Buffy was so good and so consistant for so long that if I had to choose, I'd choose Buffy.
Gotta disagree about consistency with Buffy, the 4th season wasn't that consistent, 6th season, people like it or hate it, depressing season, season seven, it promised much, but didn't quite deliver what we wanted it too, glad Faith returned though.

Angel on the otherhand, great first season that rivals any Buffy seasons I say, and from then on, through it's five seasons, winner for quality consistence, right up until the end with to not fade away, always leave the audience hungary, the stories just seemed to come and come, Buffy was great when it's good, but when it isn't, I didn't enjoy. Angel is alot more for adults, so I can see Buffy being popular by being children and adults packed together, but I believe Joss completely outdid Buffy with Angel, alot of people still haven't gotten to know Angel for what it is, something David Boreanze commented on TRL MTV UK.


In the long term, Angel will be known as one of the best vampire series, the cult is just beginning for it, the 14.99$ price for Angel season one right now in US is cool, it's a top ten seller at dvdempire, imagine all those people who haven't seen the show yet, I believe Angel to be the closest television ever got to seeing a live action Batman show that was serious, I remmeber the pilot described a bit Tim Burton gothic, and Doyal's batman type quotes in the first few episodes, without being based on a comic, Angel is like a blueprint of how to do a good comic book to tv series , it mirroed batman in some sense, but Angel was no Bruce Wayne, Joss put his own stamp on it.

[ edited by SeanValen on 2004-12-08 20:33 ]
I think one of Angel's strengths was that they almost always managed to involve all the main cast, except perhaps Lorne. Poor Xander had practically nothing to do for four years on Buffy.
"Buffy was great when it's good, but when it isn't, I didn't enjoy."

Just the inverse for me. I feel the same with Angel :p

"Angel is alot more for adults, so I can see Buffy being popular by being children and adults packed together."

I really hate those kind of sentences. Buffy wasn`t for children, and Angel wasn`t for adults.
Yes, Buffy has a school era (S1 to S3). But by the time Angel begins (S4) Buffy has a whole new concept.
Anyways, a school theme it`s not the same as a children theme.
I always thought that "Angel" was a better show, but I always had more affection for "Buffy".

Doesn't really matter, though. I loved them all and miss them all.
I'm not going to get into the BtVS v. AtS thing. Both series were great. I preferred Buffy for what are no doubt personal reasons that will not convince anyone else of anything.

I do take strong issue, however, with the oft-repeated (and nearly always unsupported) claim that AtS was "more grown-up," "more adult," "darker," "a lot more for adults," or "deeper" than BtVS. I hardly need to go into details - one just needs to look at the copious amounts of analysis and writing down on Buffy at slayage and elsewhere to get an understanding of what kinds of themes are present in the show.

Nevertheless, I think it's useful to point out that this claim often is based on the fact that Buffy is set in High School/college, whereas Angel is not. Does anyone really believe that this makes the latter a "more grown-up" show? It's the underlying themes that determine whether a show has a mature ring to it or, alternatively, is surface-level only. BtVS has any number of mature themes. Sure, if you're not inclined, you can enjoy it on only the most superficial of levels (see pretty girl kicking monsters). I myself enjoy on that level too. You can also dig way way down, discovering all sorts of resonances in myth, culture, dreams, archtypes, politics, history, or whatever your pleasure is.

Again, I'm saying nothing about AtS: it clearly dealt with "adult" themes too. But, please, let's stop dismissing BtVS as a more immature show. That claim is ridiculous. And frankly I find it an insult to intelligence in general, and my own in particular.

(added quickly) and Angel The Vampire just beat me to it, in 98% fewer words.
Angel The Vampire and SNT, well said. The frequent dismissal of BtVs as a 'kid's show' (or whatever) is, indeed, an insult to our intelligence. Either that or perhaps I am just very immature for my age!
Agreed. BtVS was in no way a less adult or mature show than AtS, despite the literally brighter, lighter locale and the school/college setting. Beginning with BtVS's first season - kids devouring a principal? a massacre at school? a slayer willing to meet her preordained death? - there has been a deep, shuddery darkness to BtVS. It is hardly a kid's show. The themes that are touched upon throughout the series have as much relevance to an eighty year old as to a fifteen year old. This is not to slight AtS's unique flavor of Jossy brilliance. Not to mention Firefly's particular brand of genius. They're all brilliant shows and I cannot choose one as the best.
When Buffy plaintively says, "I'm 16...I don't want to die" in Prohesy Girl, the show, already stratospheric, rocketed into uncharted territory...Angel is its own show, to be sure, but it is clearly predicated on and based in the Buffyverse...and hence by definition a tad derivative, if utterly brilliant and original, if that's not too self-contradictory.
BtVS was in no way a less adult or mature show than AtS, despite the literally brighter, lighter locale and the school/college setting.

I agree. The show works as allegory even if you don't get into the darkness. It's not so much about high school as fighting evil and managing to live your own life in the daytime at the same time -- as well as having some of the most adult things to say about love and sex that I've seen on a TV show ever. I went with BtVS in the poll because it's always seemed epic to me -- bigger and more meaningful, deeper, somehow than anything else on TV I've ever seen. The show never "read" to me like a TV show, but more like a myth or a particularly twisted fairy tale. Something composed of metaphor, poetry and humor.

Though I feel wistful about Firefly, which had the networks given it a chance...
I really hate those kind of sentences. Buffy wasn`t for children, and Angel wasn`t for adults.
Yes, Buffy has a school era (S1 to S3). But by the time Angel begins (S4) Buffy has a whole new concept.
Anyways, a school theme it`s not the same as a children theme.





I like both shows, I didn't get my wording right, buffy I say just attracted a certain more youthful audience, it did have alot of darkness in it, Angel went further, but I liked both shows, I dislike comparing them, since Buffy won the vote, I wanted to praise Angel more, I think alot people into Buffy didn't watch it, for whatever reason, there's a certain overpraise for buffy where I think Angel is a better show, so I in the end defend Angel, even though i like them both.

Buffy certainly wasn't for children, I shouldnt' of said that or make it appear like that.



I prefer votes when it's Joss's shows against other shows, not his shows against his own shows, conflict arises, I like all Joss's shows, there's always things to nitpick out, my bias always go to Angel in the end though, it's sort of like talking about your favorite james bond film, favorite bond actor, you get apposing views.

[ edited by SeanValen on 2004-12-09 00:26 ]
Chris in Virginia, I agree that the show made made a tremendous shift upward in Prophecy Girl, but I think that though the "I don't want to die" scene was brilliant and heartbreaking, the line crossed came later in the episode. I think it was the scene where Willow tells Buffy about about what she saw in the AV room, and Buffy decides to sacrifice herself.
Buffy is certainly not a kids show, but I do agree that Angel was slightly more mature in style and content. There was a lot more black humour, violence, and generally darker storylines. Sure there were comedy eps and some shameless 'Wesley tripping' humour but overall I think it's fair to say it was darker than Buffy.
"Angel" went to darker places because the character of Angel is inherently dark...also the metaphors in "Angel" dealt particularly with issues people tend to face after high school, especially in season one. I think "Buffy" is just as much for adults, but in a more subtle way.
Hardly comes as a surprise, although in Firefly's defense it was only on for one season. As for Angel, well I mean not only was it a spin-off from Buffy, but if you take all of Buffy's great episodes and pair them against Angel's best, I think Buffy would win. Also, Buffy only had one bad season. Angel had season 3 and for some season 4 as well. But Angel did have that knack for pulling a fast one and killing off or making a character evil, which always kept us watching and scratching our heads, but Buffy started it and had a damn good run. I love all three, but I'll always stick with my first love, Buffy.
As a 40 year old woman who has friends and family who are even older who enjoy the show and knowing that a lot of Whedonesquers are my age or older, it's hard to believe that people still think of BtVS as a kids show. I never felt it was and it's always annoyed me that it is categorized that way, especially when it comes from actual fans of the show who should know better.

And to each his own about the consistency thing, I think Angel had many moments of not being consistent but I still enjoyed the show as I did BtVS. BtVS will always be the better show in my opinion (and obviously was to the majority of pollers who did this poll). But this is also comparing three great shows and I agree that it would be better to compare it to other popular shows.

And Firefly, as I've said many times before, just never had it's chance to shine. Yes, it's great that there will be a movie, and hopefully three of them, but that will never make up for missing out on many seasons of more great Joss Whedon storytelling.
Well, i was going to jump in here, but after reading everyone's postings, there's not much more to say. Except i agree :-)
I've had several people tell me some version of the "buffy is for teens, angel is for adults" before, and it always drives me nuts. For all the reasons that SNT, Dottikin, Phlebotinin, etc., said.
As for which show is *better* - that's totally subjective. I personally love all three shows, but BtVS is and always will be closest to my heart. (maybe 'cause, like Gio says, it was my first love). I'm the first to admit it has its failings and inconsistencies, perhaps even more so than Angel, But it also hit high points that were amazing, and at its best, I'd challenge any other show on television to equal it. It's the show i keep coming back to, whose characters feel almost like part of my family.
"As for Angel, well I mean not only was it a spin-off from Buffy, but if you take all of Buffy's great episodes and pair them against Angel's best, I think Buffy would win."

Obviously, this is subjective, but I completely disagree. "Buffy" had more of those "Very Special Episodes," i. e. "Hush" and "Once More With Feeling," but I think that AtS episodes, such as "A Hole in the World," were at least equal to the best of BtVS, and other times, blew BtVS completely out of the water.
Well, you could say that about both shows. Some episodes of BtVS were better than some of AtS and vice versa. But I honestly don't think any one AtS best episodes blew any of BtVS best episodes out of the water. I think "A hole in the world" was a great episode but I don't think it is on the same level of greatness as "The Gift", "OMWF", "Hush", "The Body", "CWDP", "Passion", "Becoming 1 & 2", "Tabula Rasa" and "Normal Again" and many others. It comes close but in no way blows any of those episodes out of the water. "Smile Time" was a great stand alone episode that equals the great episodes of BtVS but still isn't better than the best of BtVS. Of course this is just my opinion and how I feel and obviously others disagree but isn't it great to have these wonderful debates about arguably the two best long running shows on TV? I just wish we had more of Firefly to debate how it would've held up over 5-7 years of great writing and acting because that's one debate I would've loved to be able to have a chance to participate in.
I just wish we had more of Firefly to debate how it would've held up over 5-7 years of great writing and acting because that's one debate I would've loved to be able to have a chance to participate in.

Oh, I so agree with you, Blwessels. I have been sucked into the Firefly DVDs again, what will all the new cast interviews and photos popping up on the net, and I am struck once again by the sense of Firefly being something truly special. I think it definitely did begin to shine, even from the very first episode. It just didn't have the time to peak. But I think it's very possible, if it had been allowed more years, it may have even topped Buffy.

It's agonizing to think of what could've been. I still have hope that after the Firefly movie trilogy (yes, I believe there will be 3), that out BDHs will come back to TV so the stories can evolve the way they were supposed to.
"A hole in the world" was a great episode but I don't think it is on the same level of greatness as "The Gift", "OMWF", "Hush", "The Body", "CWDP", "Passion", "Becoming 1 & 2", "Tabula Rasa" and "Normal Again"

The Gift. Hmm. I remember thinking this was a good ep first time round but it's soured on me. There are good moments - Giles killing Ben, Spike crying - but I don't think it was a great episode. Fair enough if they'd wanted to kill Buffy, but surely they could have come up with a more convincing explanation? Buffy sacrificing herself was the easy way out of a hard decision.

OMWF. Well it was fun, and the songs were largely great, but the story itself was a bit messed up. Xander summons a demon so everyone can have a bit of a dance? Please...

Hush, The Body. I'm no great fan of either ep but, given their originality, they're almost beyond reproach.

CWDP. Why does everyone think this is so great? Granted the Buffy/Holden scenes are brilliant, but the rest... The ep even perpetrates the ultimate crime in writing Xander out for an entire episode - I think the only time that's happened in the series run.

Tabula Rasa. Like OMWF, this was fun but until Giles and Tara leave at the end, there's really very little substance.

Normal Again. Are we supposed to believe a few trips to fantasy land are going to make Buffy tie all her friends up? The X-filesesque ending is hardly the mind-blower it's made out to be.

I do agree that Hole In The World doesn't match up to the likes of Passion and Becoming, but there are plenty of Angel eps that do. In The Dark, Five By Five/Sanctuary, AYNOHYEB, Reunion, Reprise, Untouched, Billy, Lullaby, Waiting In The Wings...

At their best, I think they match one another, but at their worst I think Buffy is lower. Having said that, we can't know how Angel's quality would have faired had it had a 7 season run.
I would sigh and say probably Buffy, because I think Firefly is the most mature and interesting stuff Joss has ever done, but there just isn't quite enough of it. :(
See, Grounded, your list just tells me that you *subjectively* prefer AtS. You don't offer any reasons for downgrading any of those Buffy episodes except along the lines of "didn't really like this one," "didn't work for me," not much going on." Frankly, we can each pick plot or character holes in any episode of any show. It's the overall impression it leaves you with that counts more, I think. Plus the collection of truly memorable moments and lines. By that standard, I think "The Gift" has more than its fair share, even though it wouldn't be in my BtVS Top 10.

Anyway, your opinion is your opinion. Here's mine: the best of the Angel episodes that you list is only as good as Tabula Rasa, which I think is the weakest of the Buffy episodes mentioned. AtS doesn't speak to me the way BtVS does (did), the characters don't engage me to the same extent, it doesn't take me to such heights or drag me down to such depths. I found Buffy much more nuanced - it had more shading in character and in dialogue. AtS always seemed a little stodgy, a little one-note by comparison. But hey, so long as there's something on the menu for each of us, we really have no cause to complain.
Despite my rant about S7 it is still the best show by far. I thought Firefly was pretty boring. And the first half of AS5 was okay. The second half I still have to see sadly enough. I think Angel had the potential to outshine Buffy, but it never really happened. AS2 is still my favorite as I love the darker side of Angel much more. AS3 was okay. AS4 was not good. And kicking out Cordy is something I will never forgive Joss for. Never.
As for darkness. I don't think BS6 is going to top in that department by anything Angel had to offer. Not even close IMO.
As a somewhat fitful television watcher over the years I am not necessarily the best person to judge the merits of BtVS in comparison to other shows. I've never seen 'Firefly', which takes that show out of the equation. I've seen some but not all of 'Angel' and I've enjoyed it, but that is as far as it has gone for me so far. On the other hand, BtVS never failed to invigorate me, it challenged me, it made me question my own preconceptions. It continues to do all of these things. I believe that it has changed my life because it has encouraged me to open my eyes to certain things that I had very fixed opinions about. I think I am now a better person for it.

In simple terms, BtVS is the finest television show I have personally ever seen.

The debate about 'Angel' being a darker or more 'adult'-orientated show than BtVS fascinates me, although I don't really get it. I actually don't consider S6 of BtVS to be 'dark', but I guess it entirely depends on the interpretation. What is important for me is that BtVS had a thematic richness of intent that I have never otherwise come across in television. One of the areas that I find most interesting is its exploration of issues of ethical and moral responsibility. For anyone who might be interested, I cannot recommend Gregory Stevenson's book 'Televised Morality' highly enough.

In the end, I don't think it matters one way or other. It's not really a question of which show is better. We simply decide for ourselves which show (or shows) we like the most. In order to prove that I prefer BtVS or think it is 'better' I am not about to rubbish 'Angel', which is clearly a very fine show and one that is very important to a lot of people.

Mind you, I am still mystified by the frequent negative reaction to S6 and S7 of BtVS, but that is something I am just going to have to learn to accept.
See, Grounded, your list just tells me that you *subjectively* prefer AtS. You don't offer any reasons for downgrading any of those Buffy episodes except along the lines of "didn't really like this one," "didn't work for me," not much going on."

Well I did try to give reasons but I guess you can disagree with them. As for preferring Angel, I do but only overall. I didn't say its best episodes were better than Buffy's best. What I said was "At their best, I think they match one another, but at their worst I think Buffy is lower." Meaning that I thought the worst eps of Buffy were much poorer than the worst of Angel. Of course Angel only had 5 seasons and most of my least favourite Buffy eps are in S6 and S7.

As for darkness. I don't think BS6 is going to top in that department by anything Angel had to offer.

Angel's story in S2 and Wesley's in S3 are far darker than the 'making bad decisions' of Buffy S6.
What is dark? Good question. The darkness from Angel is coming from his demon side while that from Buffy, Willow and Xander in BS6 was coming from themselves. The three characters went through a very dark period in their lifes. Depression, addiction and bitterness ruled their lifes. To me that is real darkness. Murder and so on is too abstract.
Have you even watched Angel? Argh...
I have to agree with the voters, Buffy was/is a better show than Angel or Firefly. While both Angel and Firefly had their moments, I believe Buffy is the closest to "perfect" television that you can get.

I've never missed an episode of either Buffy or Angel, and saying that, I think Buffy did have more dark themes. Also, usually, better episodes. Buffy, I believe, weighs out Angel by a ton. Buffy had more great episodes, more great moments, more loveable characters. I mean, don't get me wrong, Angel had it's great moments, but it's no comparison to Buffy, in any way, shape, or form.
Again I find myself in agreement with Grounded. The comparisons run down like this for me:

s2/s3 of BtVS were easily its best. s6/s7 sucked. Hard. s4 of AtS was its strongest, maybe on par with the best of BtVS, while the first third of s5, which was my least favoite run of Angel episodes, was not flat-out bad like Buffy, just boring. To pit the two shows against each other is a little like trying to decide which season of Buffy I prefer: s2, which had higher highs but also lower lows; or s3, which was more consistent, but slightly less awesom. I go back and forth.

Buffy, I think, slid down way farther than Angel ever did. I'm not as charitible as a lot of posters here in that I don't consider s6 and especially s7 of Buffy to be good television by any standard. I was more than happy to see the show die when it did. The UPN years, in my opinion, poisoned an awfully good show. With Angel, however, I thought s5 redeemed itself by the end, and because of that, I don't hold the bad parts against the rest quite so much.

[ edited by Smo on 2004-12-10 02:43 ]
Have you watched Buffy, Grounded? BtVS S6 was a lot more than bad decision making. It's something I could say about Angel and his team. Depression and addiction have nothing to do with bad decision making. Buffy was suicidal; how can you even say that that is a bad decision making. Kidnapping a son or murdering a couple of lawyers are decision, not the way how you feel.
All of this, of course, is subjective – and no one is going to change someone else's mind (kind of like talking politics in that respect).
But that said, I always find it interesting to hear the reasons people give for liking one show/season/episode better than another, even if (or especially when) I disagree with it.
I appreciate hearing what Grounded and others have said about Angel, and I agree it had some fabulous story arcs, and could even said to be "darker" (which doesn't mean more "adult" or "better") overall than Buffy. There are so many great episodes I love from Angel: 5x5, Reunion, AYNOHYEB, Smile Time, Not Fade Away, Sleep Tight, etc.
But, for me (and this is *totally* subjective) it just didn't carry the same emotional resonance that Buffy did. As i posted before, with Buffy I began feeling like the characters were people I knew – something I never really felt with Angel. And while I could possibly agree that Buffy was less consistent (though Angel did have plenty of its own awful episodes - She, The Shroud of Rahmon, Provider - and whole story arcs - evil Cordy, lots of the Connor arc), the highs of Angel just never quite compare to the highs of Buffy for me.
My top 10 BtVS list (OMWF, The Body, Becoming 1/2, Restless, Innocence, Hush, Fool for Love, Passion, Doppelgängland, The Wish) all stand, for me, head and shoulders above my favorite Angel episodes. Mostly because i always became more involved in the buffyverse characters/emotions. I agree with SNT that the show was more nuanced - i would even say more adult. The complex emotions all felt very grounded in reality to me, despite the fantastical setting. And i think it did a better job finding the balance between horror-drama-comedy.
But none of that is to say I didn't love Angel. It had amazing moments, and I was devastated when it was canceled. I love so many of the characters and story arcs. It just didn't quite resonate with me the way BtVS did - perhaps because it so often seemed to be still deciding what it wanted to be. Or because it didn't seem to have quite that same grounding in everyday life. I could relate to a Willow/Buffy/Xander (and NOT because I'm their age - I'm quite a bit older) in a way that, as much as I loved them, I could never quite relate to, say, Wes or Angel or Cordy.
This is all a very stilted way of badly trying to explain why buffy is still my first love.
But ultimately, it's such a moot argument – all three shows are some of the best things that have been on TV, and all three feature TV writing and storytelling at its finest. I actually credit buffy with opening me up to the world of (well-written) television – before i got hooked, i was quite proud of never wasting my time by watching television, and hadn't had one in years. Now, i've been discovering not only the whedonverse, but other examples of excellent television via DVD: Freaks and Geeks, the West Wing, Gilmore Girls. nice to know it's not all Friends/the Bachelorette/Survivor, but that some TV actually capitalizes on the Dickensian, novel-like format that's available. And these three shows are among the best.
Which show is the best? That's easy. Which ever one I have playing in the DVD player at the time. I'm not going to get into the "this show is better" debate because it's all based on subjective. The eye of the beholder. If a person prefers one show over another for whatever reasons, fine. Nothing's wrong with that. With that said, I love reading these debates because you people bring up key elements of what sets Joss' shows apart from all others. The effects the shows has on one's consciousness. I believe that's the very thing Joss intended to do. Great thoughts everyone.
Have you watched Buffy, Grounded? BtVS S6 was a lot more than bad decision making. It's something I could say about Angel and his team. Depression and addiction have nothing to do with bad decision making. Buffy was suicidal; how can you even say that that is a bad decision making. Kidnapping a son or murdering a couple of lawyers are decision, not the way how you feel.

Maybe so, but they didn't present it that way for a lot of the year. Buffy was feeling disconnected so she ends up sleeping with Spike. A lot. So what? Go rewatch something like Gone and tell me where Buffy is feeling depressed - the whole thing is just played for laughs. As for Angel and Wesley - they were both driven to darkness in far more believable ways, Angel by W&H's protracted campaign and Wesley by Sahjahn's prophecy. Angel was pushed to the point where he no longer believed there was any point in fighting; Wesley betrayed his friends for what he believed was the right cause, and ended up in hospital - where his friend then attempted to kill him.

Smo: We seem to agree on just about everything...except I think Angel S4 is the worst of the five ;)

[ edited by Grounded on 2004-12-10 13:00 ]
I know I'm coming into this conversation way late (and randomly--hi guys!) and that this thread will be off the front page very very soon, but I figured I might as well throw in my opinion...

While, of course, I'm going to precede this with the obvious and true "I love every one of those shows" disclaimer, I will say that Buffy holds the warmest place in my heart. For one thing, I definitely connected with those characters the most, for whatever reason (perhaps because I was in middle school/high school while the show was on, even if that might be a bit of a superficial reason).

As far as quality goes, while I hate pitting these shows against eachother, I'd either say that Buffy was the most consistent, or that it is the show whose concept was the most fully-realized in its run (for lack of a less-awkward phrasing of that thought). Also, Buffy seemed the most effortless, especially as far as the comedy aspects and standalone episodes go. Of course, had Firefly and Angel gotten the chance to survive longer, I might be saying otherwise.

And while I won't get into the "darker" debate, I always enjoyed the fact that, while Buffy was (relatively) grounded, Angel went more deeply into the stranger, more absurd fantasy aspects. Which isn't to say that I prefer one over the other...I just enjoy the contrast.

[ edited by VampiresSuckLOLOLGetIt on 2004-12-10 18:33 ]

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home